NEW ORLEANS — Produce industry leaders who packed the second day of the Fresh Summit 2013 expo heard about changes that could shake their industry.
At the Produce Marketing Association’s expo, outgoing chairwoman Jan DeLyser thanked industry volunteers for their support during her term and recounted the year’s industry successes, which include salad bar donations to New Orleans metropolitan area schools.
The vice president of the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, she also noted the changing role of Fresh Summit during her Oct. 19 talk.
“There was a time when Fresh Summit defined PMA,” DeLyser said. “But given the speed of and complexity of today’s global business environment, I can’t imagine a company in this industry keeping up, let alone preparing for the future, finally checking in with PMA every October.
“Consider the accelerating rate of change. The power of consumers worldwide affects every aspect of our industry. We face a future of science and technology that will be used to increase production with fewer resources.”
DeLyser also cited development of PMA’s strategic plan.
She characterized it not as a revolution, but an evolution and a blueprint for the future.
Incoming chairman Tim Riley, president of the Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos., is scheduled to address the industry during an Oct. 20 morning general session.
Also at the session, Peter Sheahan, chief executive officer of ChangeLabs, challenged attendees to find ways to capitalize on trends and opportunities for future business growth.
He related finding a bar code on a banana during a grocery store visit in preparation for his talk and said he was impressed by the industry’s transparency.
“We get excited about the innovation in the industry, everything from seed development through fertilization application to the fresh-cut which seems to be exploding now,” Sheahan said. “There’s this massive focus on fresh and we are very likely to see very different ways of doing business or marketing to create demand or going to market. How do businesses, individuals and industries extract value from that level of change?”
After a day of sessions and meetings, attendees during the evening of Oct. 18 packed Mardi Gras World, a warehouse which stores the colorful floats used in the namesake parades, for the convention’s welcoming reception.